Hong Kong’s iconic floating restaurant sinks at sea


In a sad echo, Giant, Hong Kong’s floating restaurant, left the world the same way it entered it: with an accident. In 1971, the vibrant restaurant caught fire in a horrific tragedy that killed 34 people, prompting the structure to be rebuilt and delaying the restaurant’s opening by five years. Now, in 2022, the ship has capsized and sunk to the bottom of the South China Sea.

On June 20, the restaurant’s parent company, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, said Jumbo encountered adverse conditions while being towed to an undisclosed location. Although efforts were made to save the three-stage watercraft, the depth of the water made this “extremely difficult”, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said in a statement. The company added that no crew members were injured in the crash.

Despite its relatively short stature, Giant has become a recognizable part of the skyline around Aberdeen Harbour. Designed to resemble a traditional Chinese imperial palace, it featured bilateral symmetry and horizontal emphasis, two classic elements of Chinese architecture. The barge featured a central tower with a double-eaved hipped roof, which was traditionally a design reserved only for emperors.

The restaurant was closed due to COVID-19 and lacked tourists since 2020.

Photo: Getty Images

The restaurant’s exterior also made extensive use of green, yellow and red, which are three of the five primary colors in traditional Chinese culture. Each color represents a direction and an element: green (wood and east), yellow (earth and center) and red (fire and south). White represents metal and west while black represents water and north. Although these other colors were not very visible on Giantone could argue that the barge itself and the sea offered sufficient representation for these remaining hues, as the proper balance of all colors was believed to provide harmony and peace in all directions.


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